Another Thursday, another stack of new releases! So many big titles lately, it’s like everyone spent the last 2 years writing and recording new albums! Anyway, as always, I’m behind so, read on!
– in-store shopping/pick ups – 11 – 6 pm Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5 pm Saturday
(if you don’t want to come into the store for a pick up, call and/or use the back door)
– We will be wearing masks, if you want to, great! If not, that’s also fine, but please be respectful of other people’s space and decisions.
– Sanitize your hands (we’ll have some)
…..picks of the week…..
Romeo Poirer: Hotel Nota (sferic) LP
If you plot a line between Jon Hassell’s ‘Dream Theory In Malaya’ and Jan Jelinek’s ‘Loop Finding Jazz Records’, you’ll find this pearl lodged somewhere in between. Add in cover art that reminds us of the sun-bleached breeze of Antena’s eternally nostalgic ‘Camino Del Sol’ and you have three of our favourite albums referenced in one paragraph. In other words; essential listening if yr into the aforementioned, or if you’re in desperate need of some time alone, washed up on a beach, contemplating all that can be good in this life. Following albums from Space Afrika, Perila, Jake Muir and Echium, composer/collagist Roméo Poirier debuts on Manchester’s sferic label with an evocative and beautiful round-trip to Venusian beaches and back. Working in the crème-concrète and exotica style that made his ‘Plage Arrière’ a cult hit in 2016, Poirier conjures gauzily impressionistic beach scenes and heady sunny day feels from a fine mix of granular processing and bleached-out Balearic tropes in the dilapidated but deeply charming environs of ‘Hotel Nota’. Armed with a suitcase of floral shirts, trunks, paperbacks and a laptop, he checks into a lounging, relaxed and lush sound that appears to shift and shimmer with the iridescent aftereffects of a daiquiri or the warm, turquoise waters by his feet. Taking up residency in an imagined lounge space where Hassell and Andrew Pekler could have once seduced each evening’s guests, Poirier applies his filigree sampling and rearrangement techniques with rarified, ephemeral effect to float from smeared Hassellian brass in ‘Thalassocratie’ to smoky, ember crackle jazz in ‘Le bematiste’, and frayed loops in ‘Du Rocher’ redolent of Biosphere’s ‘Dropsonde’, with half-recognisable motifs that thread through and tie the record together like tropical spider webs. Poirier uses tactfully textured electronics and timeless dubbing to realise an electronic simulacra of a world which becomes real through its eccentricities and cohesive integration of sounds. Trust there’s no mosquito bites or sunburn here, but you may not be able to escape the feeling you’ve been on holiday after immersing in Poirier’s careful world building.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, Fourth World, Kris’s Picks
Amancio D’Silva: Sapana (Roundtable) LP
It is widely accepted that the recorded musical output of Indian-born British guitarist Amancio D’Silva came to a premature closure with the landmark 1972 albums, Cosmic Eye and the unreleased masterpiece Konkan Dance. The Roundtable are here to prove otherwise, announcing the discovery of an extraordinary lost recording. Forty years after it was recorded we proudly present Sapana, the forgotten piece of a remarkable musical legacy, the final recording from one the most singular artists to emerge from the British Jazz scene of the 1960s/70s. Recorded in 1983 and released here for the first time, Sapana is thematically akin to Cosmic Eye, a further musical impression of the subconscious (Dream Sequences), vividly imagined with traditional Hindustani and western improvisation. A spellbinding fusion of Indian raga and New-Age jazz. Celebrated as a pioneer of the ‘Indo-Jazz’ movement of the 1960s, D’Silva’s adventurous synthesis of modal jazz and Indian classical music defined the seminal 1969 Lansdowne jazz recordings Hum Dono and Integration. Here we find D’Silva fifteen years later, removed from the jazz scene and musically in place of deep introspection and meditative tranquility. The recording features Sitarist Clem Alford, a collaborator from the Konkan Dance sessions plus renowned Tabla player, Millar and Saxophonist/Flautist Lyn Dobson, a musician who had previously worked with Soft Machine, Third Ear Band, and Henry Lowther. Together the quartet construct a deeply evocative set transcending the realm of both jazz and Indian music. Pressed on 180g vinyl and packaged in a custom flip-back sleeve.
File Under: Jazz, Psych, Indo-Jazz, Kris’s Picks
Keith Fullerton Whitman: GRM (Generators) (Nakid) LP
Genius-level, fractal re-arrangement from Keith Fullerton Whitman on his first vinyl release in what feels like years, here blessing Japan’s NAKID label with a new instalment in his forever-evolving ‘Generators’ project, arcing from bleeping post-Kosmische sounds into completely unexpected drum mutations in footwork and grime modes. It’s properly head melting gear that links the algorithmic mindgames of Laurie Spiegel with the floor-bending rhythmic experimentation of Mark Fell, Rian Treanor or Jana Rush, and the first in a three part series that offers some of the strongest gear we’ve heard from one of the very best in the game. Modular synth scientist, critic and historian Keith Fullerton Whitman first debuted his ‘Generators’ set in 2009, using a modular setup to create non-repeating melodic patterns that basically came close to generating themselves. Over the course of hundreds of live shows (and a handful of releases on Root Strata, Editions Mego and other labels), Whitman glacially honed his process and allowed the concept to slither down different avenues, mutating as it picked energy from the various venues it was situated in. His rigorous method meant ‘Generators’ was never played out the same way twice, veering from psychedelic Kosmische experimentation to obliterated, off-grid Techno. In 2019, on the tenth anniversary of the project, Whitman was invited by the GRM in Paris to set up in Studio C, where he avoided the arsenal of pristine, museum-worthy modular synthesizers and instead reprogrammed his classic ‘Generators’ patch. Recorded in a single take using luxe analog-to-digital convertors, the result is a 45-minute durational piece, split into two distinct sides for this release. “Very little manual interaction happened,” Whitman explains. The music is, as its title suggests, generative, and at this point basically sounds as if it reached its most advanced, final form. The first few minutes of the opening side mine the original theme, with clocked LFO shapes triggering oscillator blips in mind-expanding non-looping patterns. Soon, percussion enters the matrix, at first wrong-footing us with a 4/4 fake-out – possibly nodding to the piece’s 2010 Root Strata iteration – before splitting into staccato polyrhythmic abstractions of the most loose-limbed and deadly variety. General MIDI drums can sound almost hilariously boxed-in, but handled by Whitman they show off a plastic cultural sheen to piercing effect, deployed in a way that re-draws the rhythmic bass music of someone like Jlin while nodding to Mark Fell and Rian Treanor’s quasi-generative dance explorations. These comparisons take on even more weight on the second side, where Whitman opens up his filters to allow the synth bleeps to sing even more loudly, introducing that all-important clap/hat interplay that dialogues with Atlanta and Chicago simultaneously. KFW is without question one of the greatest contemporary artists to prize electronic music for electronic music’s sake, addressing its fundamentals and relishing its capacity to generate peculiar forms and trigger hard-to-place feelings. ‘Generators (GRM)’ is an ideal case in point, providing essential brainfloss for anyone who appreciates the concept, but ultimately connects to the visceral, fluid energy of anything from Parmegiani to Autechre to DJ Nate. Unreal.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient, Kris’s Picks
Various: XKatedral Anthology Series I (XKatedral) LP
XKatedral Anthology I is the first in a series of archival releases dedicated to presenting music by XKatedral affiliated composers working within the realm of slowly evolving harmonic and timbral music. This double-vinyl set contains an array of pieces dating from 2010 – 2020. Four of the works included here were originally released on cassette tape early on in the label’s history, while the two remaining pieces are presented by the label for the first time. “The works Ir Himinn, Grooenn by Kristoffer Svensson, Disquiet (Heart) by Marta Forsberg and Lamé by Isak Edberg were first released on the compilation XKatedral Volume II in 2016. Svenssons piece from 2014 combines justly tuned gamelan percussion and prepared piano intricately interwoven in a way that obscures the boundaries between the two instrument groups. Forsberg and Edbergs pieces both use a monolithic form to explore the timbral and harmonic spaces provided by the Düben Baroque organ situated in Tyska Kyrkan in the oldest part of Stockholm. While similar in terms of instrumentation the two works differ formally – Edbergs Lamé composed in 2010 uses the registers of the organ to articulate a seamless spectral transformation while Forsbergs Disquiet (Heart) from 2014 deals in blocks of sound with a varying degree of opacity, saturation and intensity. Glory for two electric guitars by Caterina Barbieri and Kali Malone was composed and recorded in Tempo Reale in Florence, Italy, and was originally released on the cassette compilation XKatedral Volume III in 2016. This music takes the form of an ever-evolving hypnotic pattern shared by the two instruments articulated through an additive and subtractive canon. Dissolving Ceremony, composed in 2012 by Edberg/Erlandsson/Lisinski, was first presented publicly on the self-released record Stratum. The music contained in that release was formed from a collection of gamelan percussion instruments augmented by two sets of live-electronic instruments tuned to the harmonic framework formed by the partials of the metal percussion. Originally positioned in the center of the record running order between two long monolithic process-based pieces, Dissolving Ceremony now stands on its own as a memory of a time and methodology from the not so distant past. The newest piece in this set is Shipwrecks by Daniel M Karlsson. While this work is a recent one Karlsson should be considered one of the forerunners of the musical expression contained within this record set. Active within new music for two decades his strongly articulated musical ideas and constantly evolving craftsmanship has resulted in an enormous body of work, and has served as an inspiration for many of his fellow composers. This piece is a celebration of transposition and its immense capacity for timbral transformation using a vast array of instruments performed, recorded and electronically treated by the composer to form a liquid uncanny topography where a deeply personal harmonic language constantly shifts, slides and shivers.”
File Under: Avant Garde, Drone, Experimental
Kris & Tavi: Chiral (Post Present Medium) CS
Kris & Tavi are a two piece band comprised of foothill dwelling multi-instrumentalists Peter Kris and Tara Tavi. On their latest release under this name, the anti-fracking, pro-cannabis activists (“Kris and Tavi” is an anagram of “drink sativa”) simulate reverb guitar and echoed vocals by manipulating field recordings of environmental destruction, a painstaking process of digital layering, processing and editing. The last track on the album is constructed entirely from sounds recorded at a drilling site in northern British Columbia on the autumnal equinox of 2020. It is rumored that Peter Kris and Tara Tavi are / were in bands such as Amps For Christ, Auto Da Fe, German Army, Final Cop, Q///Q, Germ Class, Soddamn Inssein, Aye Aye Captain, ThunderSnail, Bavaria, Savage Republic, Blue Silk Sutures, Concrete Colored Paint, Body Image Calendar, Body Habitat, MERX, Submissions and 0824.
File Under: Lo-Fi, Experimental, German Army, Ian’s Picks, Kris’s Picks
Black Keys: Dropout Boogie (Easy Eye Sound) LP
After 10 albums, the last five of which have gone top 10 or better, six Grammy awards, and sold-out tours around the world, The Black Keys are back: The duo, called “one of the best rock ‘n’ roll bands on the planet” by Uncut, delivers its eleventh studio album, Dropout Boogie. Ushered in by lead single, “Wild Child,” Dropout Boogie features collaborations with Billy F. Gibbons (ZZ Top), Greg Cartwright (Reigning Sound), and Angelo Petraglia (Kings of Leon). As they have done their entire career, the duo of Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney wrote all of the material in the studio, and the new album captures a number of first takes that hark back to the stripped-down blues rock of their early days making music together in Akron, Ohio, basements. “That’s always been the beauty of the thing Pat and I do. It’s instant,” Auerbach says. “We’ve never really had to work at it. Whenever we’d get together, we’d just make music, you know? We didn’t know what we were going to do, but we’d just do it and it would sound cool. It’s the natural chemistry Pat and I have. Being in a band this long is a testament to that. It was a real gift that we were given. I mean, the odds of being plopped down a block-and-a-half from each other in Akron, Ohio – it just seems crazy.” After hashing out initial ideas as a duo at Auerbach’s Nashville-based Easy Eye Sound studio, Auerbach and Carney welcomed new collaborators Gibbons, Cartwright, and Petraglia to the Dropout Boogie sessions. Although The Black Keys previously co-wrote songs with frequent producer/collaborator Danger Mouse, this is the first time they have invited multiple new contributors to work simultaneously on one of their own albums. Both Cartwright and Petraglia can be heard on “Wild Child.” “Living in Nashville and making records here has opened both of our minds to that experience a little bit more,” said Auerbach. “I knew Pat would love working with both of these guys, so we decided we’d give it a shot. It was the first time we’d ever really done that. It was fun as hell. We just sat around a table with acoustic guitars and worked out a song ahead of time.” “The cool thing with Greg is that he wants to approach stuff with a story in mind – there’s a plot, almost,” added Carney. The Black Keys had previously jammed with ZZ Top guitar legend Billy F. Gibbons more than a decade ago in Los Angeles, while ZZ Top was working on an album with producer Rick Rubin. “We never even really wrote one song – we just had some ideas we put down,” Carney said. “We really just wanted to hang out with him. We stayed in touch, and Dan invited him to the studio once we started working on this album.”
File Under: Rock, Blues
Ben Bondy: Sibling (Experiences LTD) LP
Ben Bondy blesses Special Guest DJ’s Experiences Ltd with a near-fathomless solo debut of sensual, low key electronics and intimate nocturnes following a pair of peaches from Ulla and Folder. This one’s all fizzing warm, heady and loved up, highly recommended listening if you’re into anything from Newworldaquarium/154 to Harold Budd. Like his recent split with Exael for Huerco S.’ West Mineral, ’Sibling’ sees Bondy return to a seductively gauzy mid-ground sound that over the course of 15 tracks lulls and lists with a minimalist patience, allowing forms to emerge and evaporate in constantly shifty transitions and weathered plays of light according to an immersive eco-logic. Those liminal traces of sound and influence are almost imperceptible, pulling you into a protective amniotic sound-world that’s evocative and comforting. The album actually started out as a single LP but the mood spilled over into something twice as long and deep with it, creating what he describes as “kinda two parts to one being. kinda like the way the bonds of friendship/siblinghood work”. This fraternal pathos percolates throughout the album, knitting together gently windswept permutations of thizzing pads and frayed rhythms under a smudged and slowly turning kaleidoscopic lens. It’s pretty much the definition of hypnagogic, likely to draw your eyelids to half-mast and your mind to blissed-out dream states.
File Under: Electronic
Calexico: El Mirador (Anti) LP
Calexico’s Joey Burns and John Convertino return in 2022 with their luminous tenth studio album, El Mirador; a hopeful, kaleidoscopic beacon of rock, bluesy ruminations and Latin American sounds. Oscillating between haunting desert noirs and buoyant jolts of cumbia and Cuban son, the album is permeated by longing. The title track “El Mirador” conjures images of a lighthouse, beckoning to lost souls in the night with hypnotic bass lines and cascading percussion. Convening at longtime bandmate Sergio Mendoza’s home studio in Tucson, Arizona, El Mirador was recorded throughout the summer of 2021, crafting one of their most riveting and whimsical productions to date. Convertino, who now resides in El Paso, and Burns, who relocated to Boise in 2020, channeled cherished memories of Southwestern landscapes and joyful barrio melting pots into an evocative love letter to the desert borderlands that nourished them for over 20 years. Burns and Convertino have been performing together for over 30 years, sharing a deep love of jazz and usually building songs on a foundation of bass and drums. But all these years later, Calexico is still breaking new ground. El Mirador showcases a sunnier side of the band, cutting through two years of pandemic fog with a blast of danceable optimism. Writing and recording alongside Sergio Mendoza (keys, accordion, percussion), the album expands on long running influences of cumbia, mariachi and the plethora of diaspora sounds flourishing throughout the Southwest. El Mirador also features vocals from Guatemalan singer-songwriter Gaby Moreno, while Spanish rocker Jairo Zavala brings his signature bravado to the track ”Cumbia Peninsula.” By working with friends and recurring collaborators, Calexico also highlights the unique social and linguistic intersections at the US-Mexico border and the magnificent possibilities of a borderless world.
File Under: Indie Rock
Cool Maritime: Big Earth Energy (Western Vinyl) LP
Big Earth Energy plumbs the depths of his multimedia mind and naturalist heart, spinning an impressionistic narrative world off of cultural touchstones like the PC game MYST and the work of Japanese composers like Hiroshi Yoshimura, Yoichiro Yoshikawa and Studio Ghibli’s Joe Hisaishi. Using those inspirations and guided by Sean Hellfritsch’s experience as an animator and filmmaker, Big Earth Energy is the soundtrack to a hypothetical video game with a pointedly ecological premise and a twist of psychedelic charm. In Hellfritsch’s imagined virtual journey, the player assumes the perspective of a treefrog 65 million years ago, hopping epochs with each new level, forming a comprehensive picture of the massive changes the planet has gone through over eons. The ultimate goal of the game is not to amass resources, defeat enemies, or gain power, but to fully witness the unfolding of one of the biggest systems of energy imaginable. The album is steeped in exploratory RPG intrigue, possibility, and contemplation, lovingly overlaid with Miyazaki-an sentiments and aesthetics. Its meticulous polygonal arrangements recall the computerized sheen of late 80s Japanese environmental music, using true-to-period gear. Hellfritsch’s reconnaissance of virtual reality and actual reality feels skillfully balanced as if knowing how to navigate one dimension is merely training for traversing its opposite. On Big Earth Energy, he pinpoints the discovery, escape, introversion, and imagination that are mutual of the two worlds, which he scouts as if they are the same territory.
File Under: Ambient, Electronic, New Age
DJ Python: Mas Amable (Incienso) LP
Call it deep reggaeton, avant-dembow, whatever; Mas Amable was easily our most rinsed record of the year, a sidewinding trip through slippery, mutable 90/180bpm metrics for lovers of rhythm and sound of all shapes and colours. Following the reticulated deep house-paced hybrids of his acclaimed 2017 debut, ‘Mas Amable’ displays a serpentine guile that surely lives up to Brian Piñeyro’s moniker. Through 50 minutes, he dangles the dance by a fine conceptual thread that ties a constant rhythmic skeleton to subtly shifting tonal and textural variables. We start from shoreside ambience and lush field recordings, into hip-gripping dembow permutations and tripped-out vocals, elegantly and rudely shifting the pressure gauge from a gentle propulsive sway to darker steppers and wavey, whistling melodies, before neuro D&B stabs light up the dance and it all fades out on a deep blue reggaeton tip. Like a mutable organism imperceptibly transforming before our eyes, ‘Mas Amable’ is both effortless and unfathomable, a heady trip through liquid, morphing tressilo drums and junglist markers that, at their peak, provide ample space for LA Warman’s vocal narration, imbuing proceedings with an eerie prescience and an existentially weary message. It all makes for a unique and richly immersive experience that we said back in 2020 would rank among the definitive records of the year, and so it did – at the very top. Classic, no less.
File Under: Electronic
Envy of None: s/t (K Scope) LP
Envy Of None is the new band and debut album from Alex Lifeson (Rush), Andy Curran (Coney Hatch), Alfio Annibalini and singer Maiah Wynne. The ambient, cinematic darkness that the collective creates evokes a powerful atmosphere that will excite superfans and new audiences alike. Lifeson and Curran’s long-time friendship was the catalyst for the band’s inception – but Envy Of None is not defined by its members resumes – they aren’t Rush or Coney Hatch and far more than the sum of its collective parts. Above the beautiful cacophony of guitars, synths, bass and drums sits the fragile melodies of 24-year-old vocalist Maiah Wynne – the newest name in Envy Of None’s impressive personnel. Hearing Mariah’s voice intertwined with the music will bring back memories of when you heard Shirley Manson of Garbage or Amy Lee of Evanescence for the first time. Wynne brings charm and beauty to these recordings in spades – with floating hooks & emotive lyrics transcending the oftentimes textural aesthetic. The Storm Thorgerson-esque visuals that grace the cover may remind fans of Lifeson’s earlier work – Curran explains: “[the] Hypnosis style artwork of albums like Pink Floyd & Led Zeppelin & others were so eye catching, surreal & attention grabbing & we wanted to scratch that itch. We were instantly drawn to Lebanese photographer Eli Rezkallah at Plastik’s photography & design work. We fell in love with a bunch of his work – we had a hard time choosing something because he had so many great images”. However, the 70’s prog/Rush comparisons may end with the artwork – the music that this ensemble creates treads new ground with each track throughout their 42-minute debut, from industrial/electronic influences to post-progressive soundscapes. Envy Of None create a sound that will haunt, comfort and ignite. “If you can picture maybe Massive Attack with a little bit of some electronic stuff with Nine Inch Nails influences, with this beautiful, fragile, sweet voice & some very, very dark heavy sounds,” Curran notes.
File Under: Rock, Rush
Exael: Collex (West Mineral Ltd.) LP
Exael debuts on Huerco S’ West Mineral label with ‘Collex’, a deep, impressionistic album of ambient soundscaping recorded between Chicago and Berlin, reminding us of early Vladislav Delay, Robert Henke’s site-specific work as well as that excellent Pendant release that kicked this label off back in January this year. Crafted over the two years since their first album,‘Collex’ finds Exael mining a finer and more elusive variant of ambient music, connecting dots between classic vapor-trail dub and hyper-modern inversions you’d more readily associate with 0PN or Kara-Lis Coverdale. With a richly refractive, iridescent quality, it marks the inward/outward distance travelled between concrète and electronic textures and spatial parameters, manipulating notions of stasis and kinesis with an unfathomable, gaseous quality that also reminds us of classic Vladislav Delay and Robert Henke’s site-specific work. It follows an excellent split EP with likeminded producer, Ryan Fall a.k.a. uon, as well as a number of compilation appearances with Allergy Season/Discwoman, Physical Therapy and Carpet Group Recordings, the latter of whom coincidentally issued Exael’s self-titled 2017 album under the Naemi alias. From the milky plumes of ‘Into Deep’, thru the scudding subaquatic electro-dub of ‘Split’, to the bristling gunk of ‘Choeo3’ and the Wanda Group-like subsidence of ‘Cart’, to the lushly fractious flux of ‘Glass In Plastic (with Arad Acid)’ and ‘Anc Alt’, Exael maintains a cool head despite the disorienting G-force and upended context, elaborating a form of simulacra that uncannily reflects the real world’s realigned ideas about gender, mental health, and emotional wealth. Offering a modernist re-vision of classic Chain Reaction and early 00’s dub inversions, it’s an uncanny reminder of a relatively recent era in electronic music that seems far out of reach in the present climate, a perfect accompaniment to Huerco S’ own excursion as Pendant. If you were into that, we reckon this one will rule your world.
File Under: Electronic
Friimen Muzik Company: Free Man (Tidal Waves) LP
THE FRIIMEN MUZIK COMPANY (also known as FRIIMEN) was formed after the Biafran war in 1973-1974 in the town of ABA in the eastern part of Nigeria. Aba was the Number 1 Music Hub in the entire Eastern Region of Nigeria. While bands and artists like ‘Ofege’ and ‘Fela Kuti’ ruled the LAGOS scene, bands like ‘Friimen’ and ‘The Apostles’ were ruling the ABA scene. Before forming the band, most of its members were already working together as freelance session musicians backing up solo artists on several recordings and concerts (or were playing in military bands that gradually became civilian bands because the war had just ended). FRIIMEN members’ credits were numerous and they played, wrote or performed on recordings from well-known acts like The Funkees, The Jets, The Apostles…and countless others. When they started concentrating on writing their own songs, the group instantly took off and became an overnight hit that resulted in them doing multiple successful nationwide tours. FRIIMEN would go on to record three albums: Free Man (1976), We Can Get It On (1978) and Merry Man (1979). All three albums were released on the Aba based label Anodisc Records (THE key label to be on if you wanted your music heard and out there), Anodisc also released hit records by ‘Sweet Unit’ and ‘Voice Of The Cross’ but The Friimen Muzik Company was the label’s signature band. The Friimen Muzik Company was so solid that every new group or artist wanted the Friimen to back them up in the recording studio. As a result, Anodisc Records received tons of demo cassettes from aspiring artists…the label would then first consult the Friimen members to see if these new acts were worthy of giving a chance to record and release an album for Anodisc. Over the course of the years the band went through several line-up changes…but in 1980 the band finally broke up and their story came to an end. The album we are presenting you today (Free Man from 1976) was recorded at the famous Decca Studios in Lagos and comes swinging right out of the gate with a set of no less than EIGHT monster tunes. Expect nothing less than crazy afrobeat and over the top melodic funk influenced by a wide array of artists (both local and international). Mesmerizing solos, captivating grooves, impeccable sequences that turned many heads…everything you need to get a dancehall into a complete uproar. The musicians’ skills are just plain incredible! FREE MAN is a quintessential record that every serious collector or fan needs to have in his/her collection. Originally released in 1976 on Anodisc Records Nigeria, Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first official reissue of this seminal Afrobeat/Afrofunk album. This is also the first time the album is being released outside of the African continent. This unique record comes as a deluxe 180g vinyl edition (strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide) with obi strip and featuring the original artwork. This reissue also comes with an insert featuring pictures of the band and extensive liner notes from band-member Arthur Freds
File Under: Afrobeat, Funk, Africa
FUMU: Enter the Anima (Youth) LP
FUMU finally unveils that long-promised new album for YOUTH following last year’s ‘Almost, Never, Nearly Where?’ collection of sawn-off oddballs, presenting a throbbing pouch of productions that run the gamut from Bunker-style red-liners to ruffkut dancehall, sore electronics and a couple of brilliantly fucked vocal cuts that are prob the finest screwed-pop drills to have emerged from this city in years. A longtime spar of Turinn (Modern Love) and Richard Harris (Sockethead) as part of the Return to Zero gang, FUMU has been teasing skills for the last half-decade or so on a couple of deadly CD’s and one destroyed bashment 45 inspired as much by manc dancefloor undercurrents as the Bladerunneresque landscape of his formative Teesside stomping grounds. ‘Enter The Anima’ is his debut vinyl longplayer, and delivers on keenest expectations in wild style, looking back at formative and fractious asphalt-grained dance music archetypes while pacing toward a new in-between mode that fizzes with too much energy to stay in one place for more than a minute. The palette is prob gonna be familiar to anyone who caught any of those previous bullets, but where it deviates is where FUMU has us most gripped, starting at the end of the line with the mad ‘Kiss Down’ – easily the most progressive and brilliant thing here, framing Zula’s incredible vox around angular, slowed down madness that feels like a dismantled antithesis to hyperpop, deployed at a 70bpm crawl for ultimate unease, ending abruptly before it’s properly even begun. ‘Forge Tides Of Fire Inside’ also plays with the form, this time re-imagining a booty flex spun off-centre, sort of miami bass via the nastiest Bomb 20 DHR missile, before “I Was Sunk Up To My Neck” frames a heads-down skank with classic manc-synths like some hidden cut off that 0161 comp. And actually that’s not a bad frame of reference for the album generally, a sort of wildly shredded update on signature manc electronic/club styles, except endlessly more fractious and moody – and all the better for it.
File Under: Electronic, Industrial
Lightnin’ Hopkins: In New York (Candid) LP
Recorded November 15, 1960 at the Nola Penthouse Sound Studios in New York, Lightnin’ In New York captures the legendary bluesman in classic form, including some rare solos on the piano. Produced by Candid Records label co-founder, famed music critic and social activist, Nat Hentoff, and recorded at a time when Hopkins was being “rediscovered” by white audiences, the bluesman was reluctant in accepting his new role as an “artist” before predominantly white audiences. It was only a month earlier in October 1960 that Hopkins had made his Carnegie Hall debut alongside folk luminaries Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. Before that, he had rarely ventured outside of his native Texas. “In this album,” writes Hentoff in the extraordinary liner notes that accompany this 180g vinyl LP reissue remastered from the original master tapes by Bernie Grundman. “Lightnin’ has continued to illustrate how fresh, personal and surprising the blues still can be when they are molded by so strong and confident a source as this man from Houston.”
File Under: Blues
Haruomi Hosono: Music for Films 2020-2021 (Speedstar) LP
Haruomi Hosono’s 3 works released all at once! Covers recent movie music by Haruomi Hosono! What is the theme song of his new live documentary movie ‘’SAYONARA AMERICA’‘? Happy End ’’Goodbye America Goodbye Nippon’’ self-cover ‘’Sayonara America, Sayonara Nippon’’!
File Under: Japan, Electronic, OST
Harry Hosono & The World Shyness: Flying Saucer 1947 (Speedstar) LP
The original CD was released in 2007. An analog release of the masterpiece of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award in May 2013. After that, the long-awaited analog reissue was a rare work in the used board market. Guests Artist: Kiyoshiro Imawano, UA, Kaori Kizu, Shigeru Kizu, Mickey Curtis. Born 1947 in Tokyo Japan, a founding member of both the influential folk rock act Happy End and the pioneering electronic trio, Yellow Magic Orchestra. Haruomi, or Harry Hosono has also released a number of solo albums in his five decade career. His work spans many styles that effortlessly fuse exotica, funk, country, electronic, ambient, and everything in-between, with projects also including film soundtracks and production duties for other artists. His latest work is Hochono House, a reimagining of his debut solo album, and the Academy Award-nominated film ’’Shoplifters’’ soundtrack.
File Under: OST
Egil Kalman: Kingdom of Bells (iDEAL) LP
Mind-bending solo debut of just intoned modular synth and double bass treks from Swedish player Egil Kalman, exploring borderlands between ancient drone, Scandinavian folk and experimental music horizons somewhere between Kali Malone, FUJI||||||||||TA and Keith Fullerton Whitman – a total stunner. Attending to the rare and classic Synthi 100 model coupled with tactile, thrumming low end strings, on ‘Kingdom of Bells’ Kalman continues to steer his practice to a personal truth after a pair of collaborations with Fredrik Rasten and Zoe Efsthathiou, and chops for Alasdair Roberts & Völvur. The 10-part album proceeds into conceptual space that we’d associate with the deep, purposeful tonal explorations of the XKatedral label, or, perhaps more acutely, Naaljos Ljom’s elisions of ancient Indian classical and forgotten Norse folk musick; repurposing the mystic potential of time-honoured tunings in a series of succinct windows to a place out of time. Kalman clearly revels in the space where distinctions of synthetic and acoustic melt into one another, producing tones that become hard to attribute to either source while giving them character thru curdled melodic cadences and curious harmonic juxtapositions that slowly, but surely, lead the head off on unexpected side missions. Opener ‘Cloudless daybreak’ balances a primordial crudeness with timelessly transportive lines of extended melody that diffuse into wondrous shapes across the album, from his descriptions of bats and nocturnal activity on ‘Iannis’ and ‘Yellowhammer’, thru deliciously groggy keen of ‘Lyra’ to pool in viscous subharmonics on ‘Delaware Road’. The last trio of tracks are on an especially heart-stopping tip, bathed in ambient light and a powered-down energy like unexpectedly soothing sleep paralysis that eventually fades to black. An incredible debut, one to swoon for, hard.
File Under: Electronic, Ambient
Killer Mike: R.A.P. Music (Watertower) LP
R.A.P. Music, the breakthrough fifth studio album by rapper Killer Mike, was originally released in 2012 and is finally back in print as a colored vinyl 2LP-set with a bonus disc of instrumentals! Production was handled by rapper and producer Jamie “El-P” Meline; the album was the first collaboration between Killer Mike and El-P, who would later form the critically acclaimed duo Run the Jewels. Snares crash like abandoned buildings being blown up. Synthesizers ooze with a diseased glow of something dying in a toxic water supply. The effect is like a futuristic junkyard come to life. In the midst of the decay of post-industrial New York, Killer Mike, hip-hop inferno, pours fuel on the already inflamed. R.A.P. Music received widespread acclaim from music critics and landed on numerous Year End Best Album lists.
File Under: Hip Hop
Monophonics: Sage Motel (Colemine) LP
The world’s premier psychedelic soul band, Monophonics cordially invites you to attend the grand re-opening of the once thriving, once vibrant establishment, the legendary Sage Motel. A place where folks experience the highs and lows of human existence. A place where big dreams and broken hearts live, where people arrive without ever knowing how they got there. It’s where individuals find themselves at a crossroads in life. What started as a quaint motor lodge and a common pitstop for travelers and truckers in the 1940s morphed into a bohemian’s hang by the 1960s and 1970s. Artists, musicians, and vagabonds of all types would stop there as seedy ownership pumped obnoxious amounts of money into high end renovations, eventually attracting some of the most prominent acts of the era. But when the money ran out, the Sage Motel devolved into a place where you rent by the hour. Sage Motel, Monophonics’ fifth studio album since 2012, tells its story. Once again produced by brilliant bandleader Kelly Finnigan, the album captures a timeless sound that blends heavy soul with psych-rock. If these walls of the Sage Motel could talk, this is what they’d say. So join us as we examine where the stories are told and experiences unfold…and sink into a soft pillow of soulful psychedelia…down at the Sage Motel.
File Under: Funk, Soul
Kevin Morby: This is a Photograph (Dead Oceans) LP
“This is a photograph.” The story begins with Kevin Morby absentmindedly flipping through a box of old family photos in the basement of his childhood home in Kansas City. Just hours before, at a family dinner, his father had collapsed in front of him and had to be rushed to the hospital. That night Morby still felt the shock and fear lodged in his bones. So he gazed at the images until one of the pictures jumped out at him: his father as a young man, proud and strong and filled with confidence, posing on a lawn with his shirt off. This was in January of 2020. As the months went on and the world dramatically changed around him, Morby felt an eerie similarity between his feelings of that night and the atmosphere of those spring days. Fear, anxiety, hope and resilience all churning together. The themes began twisting in his mind. History, trauma and the grand fight against time. Having the courage to dream, even while knowing the tragedy that often awaits those who dare to dream. While his father regained his strength, Morby meditated on these ideas. And then, he headed to Memphis. He moved into the Peabody Hotel and spent his days paying tribute and genuflecting to the dreamers he admired. In the evening, he would return to his room and document his ideas on a makeshift recording set-up, with just his guitar and a microphone. The songs, elegiac in nature, befitting all he had seen, poured out of him. Produced by Sam Cohen (who also worked on Morby’s Singing Saw and Oh My God), This Is A Photograph features musical contributions from longtime staples of Morby’s live band, as well as old friends and new collaborators alike. If Oh My God saw Morby getting celestial and in constant motion and Sundowner was a study in localized intent, This Is A Photograph finds Morby making an Americana paean, a visceral life and death, blood on the canvas outpouring. As Morby reminds us early on, time is undefeated. So what do we do while we’re still here? This is a photograph of that sense of yearning.
File Under: Indie Rock
OST: Encanto (Disney) LP
Encanto tells the tale of an extraordinary family, the Madrigals, who live hidden in the mountains of Colombia, in a magical house, in a vibrant town, in a wondrous, charmed place called an Encanto. The magic of the Encanto has blessed every child in the family with a unique gift from super strength to the power to heal – every child except one, Mirabel. But when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is in danger, Mirabel decides that she, the only ordinary Madrigal, might just be her exceptional family’s last hope. Journey into the magical Casa Madrigal with the music from Disney’s Encanto. Featuring original songs by Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, including “Surface Pressure,” “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and more!
File Under: OST
Porridge Radio: Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder to the Sky (Secretly Canadian) LP
Porridge Radio is one of the most vital new voices in alternative music, having gone from being darlings of the DIY underground to one of the UK’s most thrilling bands in the space of less than a year. Their barbed wit, lacerating intensity and potent blend of art-rock, indie-pop and post-punk sounds like little else around, and led their 2020 album Every Bad to make the nominees list for the coveted Mercury Music Prize. But if Every Bad established Dana Marolin’s lemon-sharp, heart-on-sleeve honesty, Porridge Radio’s third album takes that to anthemic new heights. Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky is the sound of someone in their late twenties facing down the disappointment of love, and life, and figuring out how to exist in the world, without claiming any answers. It’s also catchy as hell. The title – which was partly inspired by a collage by the British surrealist Eileen Agar – speaks to the “joy, fear and endlessness” of the past few years. Dana’s songwriting and delivery is more confident, with the emotional incisiveness of artists like Mitski, Sharon Van Etten and Big Thief. Though it’s softer and more playful in places than Every Bad’s blowtorch ferocity, there are moments of powerful catharsis, ones that occur when you allow the full intensity of an experience to take hold. With Waterslide, Diving Board, Ladder To The Sky, Porridge Radio have distilled their myriad influences down like they’re flipping through their own singular dial: dreamy yet intense, gentle but razor-edged, widescreen and yet totally intimate.
File Under: Indie Rock
Claire Rousay: Everything Perfect is Already Here (Shelter Press) LP
Quiet “ambient” radical, claire rousay sifts her sensurreal style into a sublime and keenly awaited long player that carefully frays the fabric of time and space for Shelter Press. Gorgeous sounds that fall thru the cracks between Rachel’s, Mary Lattimore, Hiroshi Yoshimura, Machinefabriek, Oliver Coates and Julianna Barwick. Lingering in the listing wake of her oneiric cartography ’17 Roles (All Mapped Out)’ (2021) and last year’s breakthrough “A Softer Focus”, claire huddles with mates (Alex Cunningham (violin), mari maurice (electronics and violin), Marilu Donovan (harp), and Theodore Cale Schafer (piano)) on ‘Everything Perfect is Always Here’ – an exceedingly tactile investigation of the fissures between improvised/composed sound and waking/dream life. rousay slips into a role of conductor or band-leader, arranging the elements provided by her collaborators into a golden hour glow of delicate harmony and emotional honesty. She works like a diarist, drawing out her life in soft colors and curlicues, accenting her reality with dream-like textures and crumbling environmental detritus. The orchestral elements tread between the warmth of American folk music and the glacial perfection of classical modernism – rousay is the guiding force, softening rough textures and spinning songs into humming pads and gentle breezes. Donovan’s harp is particularly memorable, sitting above Rousay’s hissing atmospheres like angels serenading from the clouds. Finding an ideal home on Shelter Press, nestled among lower register prism pushers such as Felicia Atkinson, Andrew Pekler & Giuseppe Ielasi, claire’s music sprouts probing new forms with a diaristic intimacy that veils its natural, filigree handicraft. What we’re dealing with is effectively a form of beautifully unresolved dream architecture, weaving palpable signals of the everyday, such as voice notes and under-the-table location recordings, with airspun skeins of instrumental fabric that purl the prosaic into pure sound poetry. As its title implies, claire acknowledges a magick that underlines the lived experience; hers, yours and ours. There’s an imperceptible transience at play that most succinctly nods to and brings Eliane Radigue’s time-lapsed sound images and the laminal rustles of Craig Tattersall into the dematerializing flux of 2022, feeling as though we’re snagged in imagined, liminal space between the clutter of too many open browser tabs and flutter of sounds from an open window. The effect evokes a gentle sensation of detached voyeurism as much as intimacy, and rewards repeated play with an exquisite insight to the marbling of the present moment.
File Under: Ambient, Experimental
Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood: Nancy & Lee (Light in the Attic) LP
Light in the Attic is thrilled to announce the first official reissue of Nancy & Lee: the highly-influential 1968 duet album from Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. This definitive edition of Nancy & Lee features newly-remastered audio by the GRAMMY®-nominated engineer John Baldwin and includes an array of exclusive content, including a new interview with Nancy, never-before-seen photos, and two bonus tracks from the album sessions: an ethereal cover of The Kinks’ “Tired of Waiting for You” and an uptempo version of “Love Is Strange” (first made famous by Mickey & Sylvia in 1956). This release marks the official debut on vinyl for both tracks. Nancy & Lee can be found in a variety of formats, including vinyl, cassette tape, CD, 8-track, and digital. The vinyl LP, pressed at Record Technology, Inc. (RTI), is presented in an expanded gatefold jacket and features the iconic, original cover photo by Ron Joy. Inside, a 20-page booklet offers an array of photos from the legendary singer, actress, and activist’s personal collection, as well as an in-depth Q&A with Sinatra, conducted by the reissue’s GRAMMY®-nominated co-producer, Hunter Lea (also available in the CD package). In addition to the classic black vinyl pressing, a selection of colorful variants can be found exclusively at NancySinatra.com, LightInTheAttic.net, independent record stores and select online retailers. In celebration of the release, Nancy Sinatra and fellow musician and longtime friend Don Randi (The Wrecking Crew) visited Record Technology, Inc. (RTI) in Camarillo, CA to take a tour of the plant and get a sneak peek at the Bootique-exclusive pressing of Nancy and Lee. A short video piece documenting the day, including new interviews with Sinatra, Randi, and RTI plant manager, Rick Hashimoto is available here.
File Under: Country
String (Xvarr x Justin Tripp): Last Index of… (V I S) LP
Properly absorbing electronic enigmas from Zaheer Gulamhusein (Xvarr, Waswaas) and Justin Tripp (Georgia), following their noses down the rabbit hole into aether-chamber interzones adjacent to Coil, Conrad Schnitzler, Werkbund, and Jeff Mills’ deep space missions. A strong case of two artists transcending the sum of their parts, String present an immersive exploration of the unknown, realising a “virtual vacation” from which they never returned. Their quest somehow made it into the mitts of Hamburg’s V I S, where it follows the label’s Ditterich von Eulberg-Donnersberg (Werkbund) album with uniquely engaging findings from the brink; eight tracks rendered in swirling sci-fi noir tones, siren-like chorales and plangent off-planet pads scried with a kosmiche twinkle in their 3rd eye. In other words: the sort stuff you may well have come to these pages for. In its elusive fluidity and unfathomably spatialized scope, we find the duo fusing to project a sound that, without prior notice, would be difficult to attribute to either artist. There are no doubt traces of Zaheer’s new age toned work as Xvarr and the microtonal shimmer of Waswaas, and likewise Tripp’s mutant sensibilities carried over from Georgia, but they’re distilled to a darker substance than anything we’d come to expect. It’s not so much gothic dark, more dark as in full of negative space, with a richly meditative appeal that threads their hardware improvisations from the Millsian deep space intrigue of ‘Phase Transition’ thru the eldritch eeriness of ‘World Line’, to the illusive choral motifs of ‘Fringe’ and oceanic abstraction of ‘From the End to the Beginning’, with glimmers of a more lush, idealistic hope in ‘Plus Operator’ and the cinematic ‘Degrees of Freedom’ that beautifully moderate the journey.
File Under: Electronic
Tongue Depressor: Burnish (Xkatedral) LP
Kali Malone and Maria W. Horn’s XKatedral label deliver an incredible album of empyrean chimes and subterranean drones from out-musick duo Tongue Depressor. It’s an in-depth exploration of tuned percussion and just intoned drone that comes highly recommended if you’re into the work of Tony Conrad, C.C. Hennix, John Cage, Philip Corner and Michael Ranta – or if you’re into church bells, gamelan, or Popol Vuh’s earliest meditations. Floored. With a mesmerising grasp of rhythmelodic delicacy and skin-shivering microtonal tunings, ‘Burnish’ makes for a memorable introduction, where needed, to the remarkably attuned intuitions of Tongue Depressor, aka Zach Rowden (aluminium bowls, organ) and Henry Birdsey (orchestral bells, lap steel guitar). Recording and performing together since 2017, with some 20 tape and LP releases to their name, the New Haven, Connecticut pairing are one-take artists whose familiarity with each other’s style results in a such a closely shared musical system or language that it effectively blurs distinctions between improvisation and composition. On ‘Burnish’ they explore aspects of a chiming sublime and its phantasmic, doomier inverse with utterly compelling results. Both pieces of ‘Burnish’ were recorded in 2019 and feel like long rituals, played with a patience and rigour that effortlessly seduces to their sounds’ liminal, tip-of-tongue appeal. Typically laid to 1⁄4” tape on a reel-to-reel machine, the results create absorbing landscapes from their struck objects and sonorous resonances; rendering haptic gestures with an air-bending magic rooted in millennia of microtonal practice, done to instantly gratifying effect that only becomes enhanced with durational immersion. The A-side’s ‘Graver’s Block’ spellbinds with its suspenseful lattice of lissom timbral cadence and plasmic rhythmic diffractions hinting at Michael Ranta’s eastern fixations played in Harry Bertoia’s Sonambient barn. It trades strings for bells, with Birdsey on an orchestral set and Rowden playing hand-cast aluminium bowls. They were influenced by change ringing, a style of bell ringing usually found in British churches that uses a set of tuned bells played in often non-repeating mathematical sequences, but repurposed here to take on a completely new form that conjures the spirit of Gamelan as chimes rattle and phase past scraped metallic clangs. Side B’s ‘Monocline’ however locks into a treacly thick, just intoned drone of molten metal ooze recalling KTL via Tony Conrad and C.C. Hennix’s shark-eyed focus, layering organ and lap steel in an attempt to reference both 20th century minimalism and American folk music. They nail it too, slipping into a sacred mode that harmonises with Popol Vuh’s “In den Gärten Pharaos” – all light-headed organ nausea and tense, wavering tones that seem to mimic ancient incantations. Together, these two long pieces are the audio equivalent of lighting a thurible and suspending yourself in holy devotion. Just masterful business.
File Under: Drone, Experimental
Tyler, The Creator: Call Me If You Get Lost (Columbia) LP
Tyler, The Creator delivers a vinyl 2LP edition of his Billboard 200 topping sixth studio album Call Me If You Get Lost which features the singles “Lumberjack” and “WusYaName” and took home the 2022 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album. The Gold-certified affair was self-produced and includes features from the likes of 42 Dugg, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Wayne, Domo Genesis, Brent Faiyaz, Lil Uzi Vert, Pharrell Williams, Teezo Touchdown, Fana Hues and Daisy World. Call Me If You Get Lost follows-up his 2019 Grammy-winning album Igor, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart, with 8 of the album’s songs also charting on the Billboard Hot 100.
File Under: Hip Hop
Sharon Van Etten: We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong (Jagjaguwar) LP
Sharon Van Etten has always been the kind of artist who helps people make sense of the world around them, and her sixth album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, concerns itself with how we feel, mourn, and reclaim our agency when we think the world – or at least, our world – might be falling apart. Van Etten creates a stunning meditation on how life’s changes can be both terrifying and transformative. We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong articulates the beauty and power that can be rescued from our wreckages. The ten tracks on We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong are designed to be listened to in order, all at once, so that a much larger story of hope, loss, longing and resilience can be told. This is, in itself, a subtle act of control, but in sharing these songs it remains an optimistic and generous one. There is darkness here but there is light too, and all of it is held together by Van Etten’s uncanny ability to both pierce the hearts of her listeners and make them whole again. Things are not dark, she reminds us, only darkish. Exclusive MARBLED SMOKE vinyl produced by Jagjaguwar in 2022. Gatefold sleeve. Includes download card.
File Under: Indie Rock
Anna Von Hausswolff: Live at Montreaux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord) LP
Following the release of her solo pipe organ album All Thoughts Fly and an accompanying sell-out European tour (Nov/Dec 2021), Anna von Hausswolff issues Live at Montreux Jazz Festival (2018) via Southern Lord. Live at Montreux Jazz Festival was mixed on the “Queen Neve” desk, previously owned by Queen (thus the name ) and situated at the Mountain Studios in the casino of Montreux, now located at Svenska Grammofonstudion, Gothenburg – further capturing the magic. About the experience Anna remarks: “In the beginning of 2013 I was texting back and forth with my friend Albin Oskarsson. He wanted me to come and play at a jazz festival that he was living nearby, it was Montreux Jazz Festival. At that point I was still quite unknown outside Sweden and regardless of my friend’s many attempts to contact the festival they never returned to him with an offer. I gave up the idea, he did not. Later that same year he unexpectedly died and a few years later, in 2017, an email popped up in my inbox, it was a request to open for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the Montreux jazz festival. The tragedy that Albin was still not around to share the excitement with me gave me sorrow. “But, through the magic of music comfort came. The show was an emotional turmoil of ecstasy and grief, shared with an incredible audience and atmosphere. And, eventually, I could see his face in the venue, floating above all others, smiling and waving towards me. I’m so happy to have been given this moment and I’m beyond grateful to Montreux Jazz Festival, John Harris and Mathieu Jaton who so beautifully recorded this special concert that I will keep close to my heart forever and ever.”
File Under: Rock, Experimental
Various: Frijazz Mot Rasisme (Smalltown Supersound) LP
The second release on Smalltown Supersound’s highly promising offside jazz label, ‘Le Jazz Non Series’ follows Bendik Giske and Buttechno’s mighty label opener with a killer compilation bursting with contemporary/outsider Norwegian free music as a show of solidarity against racism in the scene, with a title that translates to “Freejazz against racism“. Stitched and compiled by Anja Lauvdal and Tine Hvidsten, the set features 18 outsider Jazz burners centered around a varied and diverse cast of characters from the young Norwegian scene. While Norway has long had a positive relationship with free music, its players have invariably looked remarkably similar. “Frijazz mot rasisme” aims to address that by expressing the diversity of Oslo’s contemporary scene and show its commitment to anti-racism; of the players featured on the record, many are regulars at Norwegian demonstrations against local anti-Muslim organization SIAN – with the compilation designed to collect funds for local anti-racist work. Musically, “Frijazz mot rasism” is a fractal head-fry of the highest order, dilating a fertile movement thru spiraling outsider-jazz. If musical nodes are needed for a point of reference, it flexes from Don Cherry-inspired communal psychedelia sprawlers to fiery shredders, modal percussive cyclones and lushly expressive instrumental virtuosity of a sort we can only imagine would short-circuit and frazzle a pack of bleating Viking gammons. With well over half the tracks originating from female artists, the set also represents a phase shift in perception, wickedly reprising the form’s historic function as fire music and a soundtrack to civil unrest, but with a decided female energy that’s more agitant than aggressive, in a way that might just calm and enlighten the xenophobes. There’s a tonne to get down with; Sanskriti Shrestha & Andreas Wildhagen’s modal tabla groover ‘Eight hands’ is a real standout, with subtle treats in the liminal thizz of ‘Up There’ by Propan, and a strikingly stark solo performance by Inga Aas, held in balance with tussling razz-outs like ‘One out of town’ feat. Brian Sandstrom, and scatting, Dadaist mischief by Agnes Hvizdalek that’s sure to pique interest along with the chaotic swarm of its shred-out finale ‘Primary Antibody’. Wall to wall enlightening, emotional bangers this one = highest Tip!
File Under: Jazz
Various: It’s A Rough Old Road to Travel (Iron Mountain) LP
From the people who brought you ‘Hillbillies In Hell’…
16 timeless tales of existential angst wrought from backwoods outsiders and Nashville misfits. Furtive banjos and lonesome voices soundtrack a turbulent vista of Eternal Questions and Unquenchable Wanderlusts. Trench-warfare Laments, harrowing Self-examinations, faltering Ids and devastated Egos. Many originally waxed on private press labels and distributed in unrewarding amounts, these Troubled Troubadours sing of endless Yearnings, distant Freedoms, collapsing Identities, primordial Fears and stygian landscapes of molten Self-doubt. Years in the making – ’It’s A Rough Old Road To Travel’ presents existential Howls and Jungian diatribes from forgotten 45s: windswept Longings, broken Survivalists and disrupted Ecologies. All for your contemplative listening pleasure.
File Under: Country
Various: Now Thing 2 (Chrome) LP
Dancehall knowledge Felix Hall presents a momentous 20 year follow-up to Mo Wax’s pivotal, highly influential 2001 instrumental showcase ‘Now Thing’ a blueprint of sorts for the likes of Equiknoxx almost two decades later. This new set – almost two years in the making – reunites original comp players Lil Toby, Will Bankhead and Oliver Payne (on compiling and artwork duties) and features 16 prime Jamaican bullets for Felix Hall’s shockout label, Chrome. Resetting the timeline to 1997-2020, ‘Now Thing 2’ expands on the crucial first set – which was a gateway to the world of dancehall for many heads – with deadly cuts from the scene’s leading producers; spanning Dave Kelly to Steely & Clevie, from NYC’s Bobby Konders to Ward 21, and including killer side-spins on ‘90s rave and R&B. Two decades since the first set, it’s astute to say that dancehall has exerted a huge degree of influence over dance and club music of all stripes over the interim. Much like how roots reggae and dub influenced disco and post-punk in the ’70s; Dancehall, with its origins in the digidub of Jammy’s ‘Sleng Teng’ riddim, has irrevocably informed jungle, rap, garage, and even pop and techno for the past generation, and ‘Now Thing 2’ is the strongest primer you’ll likely come across.. It’s a proper sound-system thing, deeply rooted in the competitive, inventive nature of Jamaican music, which would, according to ‘Bass Culture’ writer Lloyd Bradley’s liner notes “constantly reinvent itself as a way of staying ahead of the sound system on the next corner.” With access to new technology, producers persistently pushed their paradigm along the axes of function and distinction, with each asserting their individuality in a syncretic style and its permutations of tresillo drum patterns, all at the service of bringing bodies to the dance and keeping them there. The 16 tracks here lead directly from its predecessor with updates of highlights from the first, notably Richard Browne’s darkly dubbed ‘Grass Cyaat Refix’ and the return of Lenky (whose original ‘Now Thing’ rhythm lends the sets’ titles) alongside Andrew Thomas on the haunted fairground pressure of ‘Bad Mongrell’, while prolific dancehall architects Steely & Clevie serve the jabbing ‘Bitter Blood’, and Ward 21 come with the brooding badness of ‘Volume’. ‘Now Thing 2’ comes into its own however, via its more obscure, mutant workouts. NYC’s acid house legend Bobby Konders supplies 1999’s rolling ‘Lickshot Rewind’ from his dancehall label Massive B, and Crown Star Productions let off zinging rave hoovers on the mighty ‘Fire Cracker’, with Donovan Germain’s half step 140bpm rework of Timbaland’s Aaliyah classic ‘Are You That Somebody’ highlighting the vital dialogue between dancehall and mainstream charts. Compiled by Felix Hall, Lil Toby and Richard Browne, with art and design by Will Bankhead and Oliver Payne (also behind the first volume in 2001), ‘Now Thing 2’ is future-proofed for the next 20 years, and should be considered ultimate listening by a new generation of listeners and ravers who are increasingly cognisant of dance music’s important roots in Jamaican dancehall culture.
File Under: Reggae, Dub
Arcade Fire: Everything Now (Sonovox) LP
Arcade Fire: Suburbs (Sonovox) LP
Jean-Michel Blais: Aubades (Arts & Crafts) LP
Blonde Redhead: Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons (Touch & Go) LP
Camberwell Now: Ghost Trade (Modern Classics) LP
Jimmy Carter & The Dallas County Green: Summer Brings the Sunshine (Numero) LP
Childish Gambino: Camp (Glassnote) LP
Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas (4AD) LP
Duster: Stratosphere (Numero) LP
Billie Eilish: When We All Fall Asleep (Interscope) LP
El Michels Affair: Sounding Out the City (Big Crown) LP
Helm: Axis (Dais) LP
Joe Hisaishi: Howl’s Moving Castle: Image Symphonic Suite (Studio Ghibli) LP
Joe Hisaishi: Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (Studio Ghibli) LP
Iasos: Inter-Dimensional Music (Fact of Being) LP
Abbey Lincoln: Straight Ahead (Candid) LP
Leo Nocentelli: Another Side (Light in the Attic) LP
Oasis: (What’s The Store) Morning Glory? (Big Brother) LP
Purple Image: s/t (Tidal Waves) LP
Max Roach: We Insist! (Candid) LP
Yasuaki Shimizu: Kiren (Palto Flats) LP
Toro Y Moi: MAHAL (Dead Oceans) LP
Tyler the Creator: Goblin (XL) LP
Carmen Villain: Only Love From Now On (Smalltown Supersound) LP
Weather Station: What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know? (Fat Possum) LP
Jack White: Fear of the Dawn (Third Man) LP
Kiyoshi Yamaya: Wamono Groove: Shakuhachi & Koto Jazz Funk ’76 (180g) LP